The Trellis and the Vine Sequel

Kevin Halloran | July 1, 2016


It’s been seven years since a book on ministry from an Australian publisher took the evangelical world by storm. The success of The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything (2009) surprised authors Colin Marshall (CEO of Vinegrowers ministry) and Tony Payne (CEO of of Matthias Media), who described it (with typical Aussie humility) “as an unexciting little book that consisted mostly of the blindingly obvious” (14).

As is often the case, the “blindingly obvious” is where we most need clarity, especially when it comes to a biblical vision of ministry and discipleship. As the title suggests, The Trellis and the Vine is built on a metaphor: the “vine” representing spiritual growth by Word-centered disciple-making activities (teaching, training, prayer, one-to-one Bible reading), and the “trellis” representing the structural side of ministry (administration, organization, running programs, and so on). Churches need to structure their ministry around growing people, not programs, and letting trellis work support, not overtake, vine work.

The initial success of The Trellis and the Vine sparked countless conversations and caused many to rethink their approach to ministry. It also unearthed serious struggles. Though many were gripped by the book’s compelling, biblical vision for disciple-making communities, they had trouble actually changing their church’s…


To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/book-reviews-the-vine-project.